What we love about our rangers, besides their wholehearted passion for South Africa’s wildlife, is that they’re all so different. Each ranger brings their own unique perspective to a game drive which means every game drive promises something new and exciting.  

Jonty, our Kichaka guide, is synonymous with enthusiasm. From describing a herd of elephant to the creation of a termite mound, his drives are in-depth, entertaining and educative.  

Meet Notemba or Mtata, a chef at Kichaka lodge. A few seconds into a conversation with her and she’ll have you laughing. She’s warm and friendly, like her cooking, and cracks great one-liners.  


1. How long have you been a ranger now?  

I’ve been doing this for 2 and a half years now. 


2. Is this always what you wanted to do?  

I just knew I had to be outdoors. I can’t be in a city. I grew up on a farm, even Grahamstown has too many people for me.  


3. What have been your favourite sighting so far?  

I have so many top sightings, I could list them forever. One of the top has to be seeing a brown hyena earlier today. He or she was so relaxed, we got so close, it’s so unusual. I also saw two hippos fighting, that was something impressive. Two lions rubbing noses, that was so special, I loved that sighting too.  


4. Do you have a favourite animal fact you love to share?  

I’m trying to think of the smaller things, because we always usually just talk about the big things. The aardwolf sometimes follows the aardvark, because it doesn’t have the claws to get into a termite mound. It can also eat up to about 300 000 termites in a night.  


5. What’s your signature dish? Any chance of sharing the recipe?  

The crusted lamb rack with a mint sauce. I’ll give the recipe to people secretly, for private use only!  


6. Which animal would be your spirit animal?  

I love the kudu. I don’t think it’s my spirit animal but it’s definitely my favourite. They’re quiet and hidden. They make you work to find them and see them. They’re majestic, beautiful when they walk. They’re regal.  


In search of more reading? Here’s a day in the life of a game ranger!